Photo: Florian Schulz
The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is an iconic American treasure. It is home to more than 200 species of birds, along with polar bears, wolves, and nearly 200,000 caribou that raise their young in the refuge. Birds migrate from across the United States and from six continents in order to feed and reproduce in the Arctic Refuge, taking advantage of the burst of plant and insect life during the long days of the Arctic summer.
The region was first protected in 1960 by President Dwight Eisenhower. President Eisenhower had the wisdom to set aside an entire Arctic ecosystem, from the Brooks Range Mountains and surrounding forests, to wild rivers and streams, vast marshes, to the biologically-rich coastal plain that streteches to the Arctic Ocean. This area provides crucial nesting habitat for birds such as Tundra Swans and Northern Pintail.
While many areas in Alaska are already open to oil and gas drilling, oil and gas interests continue to lobby to drill in the pristine coastal plain. And while some parts of the Arctic Refuge are permanently protected, the coastal plain of the refuge has never received permanent protection through a Wilderness designation from Congress, leaving it vulnerable to industrial development.
This year, the Arctic Refuge is facing a serious threat. Drilling proponents are attempting to push through legislation that would turn this incredible, wild landscape and vital bird habitat into an oil field, and may even use backdoor budget tactics to force it through Congress. We need our representatives in Congress to stand up and prevent this attack from succeeding. Further, we need our representatives to support legislation that would permanently protect the Arctic Refuge's coastal plain. You can take action and call on your own representatives in Congress to protect the refuge by clicking here.
The Interior Department is fast-tracking efforts to strip away critical protections in the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.
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